How is a decision made?

The Planning Committee, made up of councillors from all political parties represented on the council, makes decisions on the council's behalf. Planning decisions are not for the Executive or Cabinet to decide and the council's constitution contains a Protocol for Members regarding planning applications.

In practice, with over 3,200 applications to consider, most applications (about 96%) are decided under 'delegated powers'. This means that the authority to decide the application has been delegated by the Planning Committee to specified senior officers. This is usually for smaller-scale proposals -  alterations and small extensions, conversions, straightforward changes of use and new housing developments of up to nine units.

The Council's Constitution, under its Scheme of Delegation for Planning Applications (PDF 24KB) (Updated April 2014), says when an application will be decided on by officers or by the Committee. Development Control can tell you how your application will be dealt with before a decision is made.

The Planning Comittee, which meets every three weeks, deals with decisions that cannot be decided under delegated powers. Councillors who make up the committee make the decisions. You may be able to speak at the committee meeting according to our speaking at planning meeting protocols. The types of applications that are decided here include:

  • applications for ten or more units of housing
  • applications where there are five or more individual letters of objections if the recommendation is to approve, or if there are five or more individual letters of support if the recommendation is for refusal
  • applications where the ward councillor, Conservation Advisory Group or the Disabled Access Advisory Group do not agree with the recommendation of officers, and request the Planning Committee to make the decision